Xan Aranda is an award-winning independent filmmaker affiliated with Kartemquin Films since 2007. She is also an active consultant, with a hand in dozens of international productions. Xan's clients have ranged from national universities and the U.S. Department of Education, to branding companies and advertising agencies, film festivals and emerging filmmakers.
Her directorial debut, Andrew Bird: Fever Year, had its World Premiere at Lincoln Center as part of the prestigious New York Film Festival. The film is described by The Hollywood Reporter as "a gently illuminating look at a brilliant maverick musician... captured with grace and delicacy." Fever Year received the Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Omaha Film Festival, Best Pop Culture Documentary at New Zealand's Documentary Edge Festival, the Audience Award at the Noise Pop Film Festival in San Francisco, and the Southern Appalachian International Film Festival award for Best Sound. The film has screened at over 75 festivals worldwide, and is her fourth collaboration with Andrew Bird.
She is a Producer of the multi-award winning 2008 Kartemquin release Milking the Rhino. Xan also serves as Outreach Director for Prisoner of Her Past, directed by Gordon Quinn. She handled broadcast of both films on PBS.
Also with Kartemquin, Xan is currently directing her next project, Mormon Movie, inspired by religious educational films her mother starred in while a student at Brigham Young University during the 1960s.
As "arts evangelist," Xan is a popular featured speaker for students, having been a guest of Seattle University, the Yukon High School of Fine Arts, Columbia College, Northwestern University, Wake Forest University, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, DePaul University, and others.
The Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Short Film Brigade, Xan curated and hosted screenings of international short films from 2003 through 2010. The Sundance Institute recruited her for their ShortsLab: Chicago.
She often serves on competition juries as varied as the Chicago International Film Festival, the Third Coast International Audio Festival, the Hugo Television Awards, the Illinois Humanities Council, and IFP Minnesota, among others.
Born and raised in Illinois, Xan Aranda lived in California for ten years until moving to China and eventually, Chicago in 2002. She has worked in the film, music video, and commercial industries since 1994.